Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day 397


Just for fun, a pretty pink bedroom by designer Phoebe Howard.


I love this little writing desk, though I suppose writing is now more often done on a Mac than on stationery ...


The accessories are in keeping with the color palette -- and I love that miniature sofa!


A sweet sitting area complete with pink peonies and a cool Lucite table.


The room is decidedly girly, but has just enough white to keep if from looking too saccharine.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Day 396's question


The Inspired Room recently posted images of a beautiful bathroom in the home of a blogging friend. What really stood out to me, is an old buffet that she painted and fitted with a counter top and uses as a vanity.

I remember when I friend's mom did this when I was in high school, and I thought it was such a great idea. Lately, so many bad versions have been appearing that I'd almost written the idea off as totally cheesy, but I think Meg and her beautiful vanity have restored my faith.

Here's the buffet before:


And here it is painted white and installed in the bathroom:



Photos above by Meg Duerksen

I also really love this green side board that was photographed in Pieces, Inc. owner Lee Kleinhelter's house.

Photo by Tim Street-Porter for Cottage Living

I saw a sideboard that looked remarkably similar to this one for $300 in an antique store. I could kick myself for not grabbing it up!

Photo from Pieces via Style Court

We've painted several pieces of furniture in our house, but it still makes me nervous. I always like the way it turns out, but I am usually fearful that I won't. What do you think? Could you bear to paint and permanently alter a piece that you loved?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Day 395's purchase


Well, we finally did it. Alllll summer long we've been admiring outdoor grills and dreaming of all of the delicious things we could make if only we had a grill. Wes did some research last week, and made the big purchase while I was away with my sisters over the weekend. We christened it last night -- after I spent $100 at the grocery store buying anything and everything I imagined we could throw on that bad boy.

Our first meal was a simple (but delicious!) one of grilled marinated chicken, sweet corn on the cob and a very easy tomato-mozzarella salad I found here. How did we ever live without it?!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Day 394


Let me just tell you, my recent discovery of Martha Stewart's blog is doing nothing for my productivity level at work. Last week I found these gorgeous pictures of a lunch she hosted on the porch of her coastal home. The blue hydrangeas are so beautiful in these green vessels.


I love how she married all the different furniture pieces with this great aqua green. As we're getting closer and closer to having outdoor spaces to furnish (with some flea market finds, might I add?), I'm thinking this is a great idea!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Day 391's pretty

Courtesy of M.A. Belle

How great are these orange chairs?! Love it.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 389

Lately, I've been trying to brush up on my photography skills. I took one class in college -- photojournalism -- but I'm not so sure I learned much of anything. Except what the rule of thirds is, and that's pretty much the only trick in my back pocket.

Maddie and Peepers are my only living subjects, but they are seldom up for sitting in the front yard posing for me. I did get a few decent shots a couple of weeks ago.


Poor Peepers the Cat doesn't get a lot of play on this blog, probably because he's so well-behaved and never does anything worth writing home about (like eating our anniversary cake or tearing up a roll of toilet paper). He is seriously the best (and easiest) cat ever. Love him.

Taking pictures of him is pretty hard, because if I say his name, I get this:


And if we look like we're having too much fun, I get this:


Or this:


Occasionally, I get one I'm kind of proud of, like this:


And because I just can't help myself, here's a cute one of Maddie:


See what I mean about the rule of thirds? Oh well...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day 388's update

I don't really know where I can start with this post, except to say that after this weekend Wes and I have a new appreciation for what "sweat equity" means. Boy, did we do some sweating. But it was worth it, because we're much, much closer to having a great-looking yard, and it feels really good to have the hardest work behind us (or at least we hope so!).

When I came home to this in the yard on Friday afternoon, I knew we were in for a doozie of a weekend. Wes got acquainted with his new friend while I sipped cocktails at a poolside lingerie shower on Friday night, and we got started bright and early Saturday morning. Wes and his dad plugged the natural gas lines below the house and used the mini-excavator to pull up the lantern in the middle of the yard, as well as the old, rotting roots of a tree that were under it.


In it's place, we planted my little twig of a Yoshino Cherry tree.

Next, they turned their attention to the planting beds in front of the house. If you recall, Wes had attempted removal of some over-grown boxwood bushes on his own, but to no avail. They were able to get all of the root systems out and sort of "till" up the beds so that the gosh-awful landscape rocks could be shoveled out (more on that later).


They also removed some unwanted bushes and trees that were crowded around the back of the house so we can repair the fallen retaining wall (which is another post entirely ...). Somewhere in this process they hit our natural gas line, but hey, the end justifies the means, right?

Wes -- what else did y'all do on Saturday?

On Sunday, we focused on finishing up the planting beds in the front. We shoveled wheelbarrow load after wheelbarrow load of rocks out of the beds to try to get the soil ready to be planted in the fall.


We moved five azalea bushes from an out-of-the-way spot to the front, and now it looks like this:


Several of them clearly need to be pruned a little, but right now we're just trying to keep them watered and alive. We're hoping they'll fill out nicely now that they have some more room. And you can see that there are still some rocks to shovel away, but the oppressive July heat eventually won, and we had to save those for another day (er, rather, evening, when it's cooler).

For the most part, we were able to finish up the bed on the left side, and we moved it in a little so it is the same depth (four feet)as the one on the other side of the sidewalk.


Let's hope last night's torrential downpour didn't wash all of our freshly-spread mulch away ...

We also spread some grass seed on a few of the bare spots in the yard, including the one made by the lantern removal.

My favorite project was pulling up the English ivy that was beginning to slowly take over the car port. I've had that spot scoped out as the ideal home for my hydrangea beds, but knew the ivy had to be dealt with first. Man, that is some wicked stuff! First, we used the excavator:


But eventually had to use our gloved hands and a rake. At one point in my life, I'm sure I thought that ivy climbing up the side of a cottage was very charming, but not anymore! If I never see a vine -- of any kind! -- again, I will die happy. Unfortunately, the source of it is in our neighbor's wilderness of a backyard, so I'm sure my Battle Against the Ivy is far from finished.


The oddest part of the weekend was finding things in the ivy! We found a football, several ink pens, a styrofoam take-out container that was completely intact, a cell phone, and two waterguns. These little pieces of the lives that lived there before us really made me wonder exactly what we will leave behind when we move on.


I'm not so sure this post does justice to how much work we did, so maybe a shot of Wes' dirty, dirty legs will.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Day 387s teaser

We're going to have to leave you wanting more because we both got swamped at work and weren't able to write up a quality post that fully encompasses all we did this weekend.


Come back tomorrow to get your newlywed fix.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Day 384


Whew, what a week. I hope you're all looking to the weekend as much as I am. Come back next week to see if Wes was permitted to install a koi pond or not!

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Day 382

We're trying to do a good job of having at least one post per day, and Jennifer is doing a pretty good job of keeping that pace, but today she is uber busy at work. I don't have much time either, but I wanted to throw in a quick teaser about some upcoming posts.

I'm an Assistant Project Manager for one of the largest general contractors in the country. As such, I get a few perks. One of these perks is that I can rent equipment for the weekend from our company-owned equipment rental and supply company. I only pay the cost of delivery. I'm on the short list this weekend for a mini excavator.

A few weekends ago I took it upon myself to take a chainsaw to all the boxwoods in our front planting areas. I broke a shovel trying to get the roots out, so I'm going to thoroughly enjoy ripping those suckers up with a large machine. I'm also going to take care of all the river stones in the planters. I'll throw some topsoil and mulch on when I'm done, and then Jennifer and I can talk about what to plant in the fall.

We've got three old gas lanterns around the house that haven't worked for at least 5 years. The paint is chipping, the glass is falling out, and there are leaves in the gas line. My dad is coming down this weekend to help me plug up the lines in the basement so I can pull these eyesores out of the ground. And who knows, maybe Jennifer can save the cherry tree she bought a while back and we can plant it there.

In other news, I tuned up my front derailleur and re-taped my handlebars. Someone come to Birmingham and ride with me. Early Christmas list frontrunner: new cycling shoes.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 381

As soon as I saw this post by Joni at Cote de Texas, I knew I had something to share. Take a look at her post, and then here's a little background. I took these photos on a street very close to where we live. It's a fairly prestigious address, I think, at least as far as Vestavia goes.

The street follows the crest of a hill, so all of the houses on one side have beautiful views of Shades Valley and Red Mountain (many Birmingham neighborhoods are full of great vistas). I would guess that most of the houses on this street were built in the 40's and 50's, which is new when compared to some other desirable neighborhoods (such as those around Highland Avenue or in Mountain Brook), but are probably some of the oldest in Vestavia (which experienced a boom in growth in the 1960s and is still adding new homes today).

Okay, enough rambling. Here are a couple of my favorite houses on the street.


This one has the most beautiful, lush lawn. It was hard to get the entire structure while driving, but you get the idea.


Another lovely, shaded lawn with a border of shasta daisies in full bloom. This one probably has a great view in the back, and is much bigger than this picture shows.


This is one of my very favorites in Birmingham. It's the perfect size for a family home and has a great, private yard. The front is obscured by a row of hedges, so I had to pull into the driveway for this shot! I'm pretty sure this is my dream house, and if I ever own it, it will have a beautiful farmhouse kitchen and big vegetable garden. A girl can dream, right?


This is a newer home, but the architecture is in keeping with eclectic nature of the neighborhood. Love the super-deep front porch (it looks a bit strange in this photo, but is very cute in person).

And this is what you see just a couple of houses down:


What in the world?! You can see that they builder/homeowner cleared the lot of its beautiful, mature hardwood trees in favor of a "dramatic" view of the home and couple of ill-placed shrubs. Oy.


Now the close-up really just speaks for itself. Yikes. What is this supposed to be? The roofline says maybe French, but then the columns ruin that. Most of the columns serve absolutely no purpose, so why even bother?! It doesn't relate in any way to the neighborhood, and with the obnoxious iron fence around it, is basically an eye-sore.

What do you think? Am I being too harsh?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 380


The weekend at the lake was fabulous! It was so nice to catch up and hang out with girls I know so well, and many that have known me since we were very, very young. We came away from a weekend of sunning, eating, laughing, crying, storytelling and reminiscing feeling encouraged, refreshed and thankful. One of the highlights for me was sitting on the pier eating watermelon off the rind watching this (above) sunset. Honestly, what more can you ask for?!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Day 377's pretty

Here's your Friday pretty. Enjoy your weekend.







Beautiful, right?

Fix a bourbon and sprite, cook a hot dog, and have a great weekend because there's only 48 days until college football.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Day 376

I had a lovely beach house planned for today, but ... well, you know how things go some days. So far today has been one of those days.

I got up exceptionally early, as I had a few things left to do before heading out of town for the weekend this evening (the lake trip with the girls will surely make up for all of this!). So I swept the front porch, straightened up a bit, loaded and started the dishwasher, etc., and after my shower and subsequent routine, went into the office to iron my shirt and skirt. Shirt went smoothly, and Maddie was as happy as clam chewing on a rawhide bone on the floor. I was almost done with my skirt when I noticed a huge, mysterious stain on it. Hrmph. Fine, I'll wear the pants instead, but blast it they have to be ironed too!

Then I feel the errie calm in the house. The kind of calm that you hear parents of small children talk about. It's just at little too quiet, and you just know something's up. This is what I found in the living room:



She showed a little bit of interest in toilet paper several months ago, but after a few scoldings she's left it alone.


The rolls in both of the bathrooms are still intact, and I suppose she stole this one from under the sink in the "new" bathroom, which is partially exposed thanks to a door that won't stay put.


Let me tell you, this isn't half of the mess, either, she had it strewn about the living room floor and was just rolling around grunting and having a grand old time. Bless her.


If you came here for something pretty, wonderful Joni at Cote de Texas is doing beach houses this week, too. Definitely worth a look!

And Heather at Habitually Chic has a lovely collection of images and quotes by David Hicks. So inspirational and informative. A couple favorites:

"Good design is in no way dependent on money. I like to spend the minimum of money and yet gain the maximum effect. Style is not what you do but how you do it."

"Good lighting is subtle lighting; the more sources of light, the subtler the effect. Fluorescent lighting has no place in the home." Amen, brother!

"Good taste is something which you can acquire: you can teach it to yourself, but you must be deeply interested. It is in no way dependent upon money."

And this one's for Wes: "I like rows and rows of tonic water bottles, apple and tomato juice, two of three syphons of spirits lined up behind each other; it gives a generous, welcoming atmosphere, and if a bus-load of friends does descend upon you, you are ready for them."

Thanks for picking up my slack, ladies!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day 375


If you're looking for a serious get-away, the lovely Anna of Absolutely Beautiful Things has just the place.


Though the palette is very all-American, the layers of detail in this Australian beach house are all Anna.






If you're interested in renting the house, e-mail Anna at anna@blackandspiro.com.au.


Images Courtesy of Anna Spiro